Because I am a professional, and take film reviewing seriously, I have a very specific way of classifying blockbuster movies that I suspect are going to be terrible, but which I also anticipate thoroughly enjoying: BTJA or WTJA.
BTJA = better than Jupiter Ascending, the 2015 space opera (yes, really) starring Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and our very own Maria Doyle Kennedy. Skyscraper, starring Dwayne Johnson, is BTJA. Every so often, a film comes along that is JABJA (just as bad as Jupiter Ascending). In this category, I would place the likes of 2016’s Warcraft, for which I had very high hopes.
The Meg, on the other hand, which stars Jason where-is-that-accent-even-from Statham, is WTJA (worse than Jupiter Ascending).
That is not to say that I did not enjoy it; I laughed a lot. I also almost wet myself at least twice (I’m a very jumpy cinemagoer) and I wouldn’t be entirely displeased if there was a sequel.
Let me tell you about The Meg
There are echoes of Titanic in the opening scenes of The Meg; Jason Statham and his crew of, er, deep-sea rescuers? Is that a thing? are approximately 10 million miles (okay, 11,000 feet) below sea level, tasked with rescuing the crew of a sunken vessel, a nuclear sub that’s been attacked by something we suspect might be the titular meg (but are not yet sure #suspense).
You’re half expecting them to find a pencil drawing of a nude Kate Winslet among the detritus when the vessel is struck yet again by something really, really big. (Did we mention this is a nuclear submarine? Not any old submarine – a nuclear submarine. So whatever has hit it has to be biiiiiiig.)
Five years later, we meet Morris (The Office‘s Rainn Wilson), a millionaire who’s been throwing money at Mana One, a research facility off the coast of China where they have discovered, essentially, that the bottom of the ocean is in fact further down than we’d thought.
So off they trot to explore these hidden depths, all delighted and excited by this great new leap in science until – you’d guessed it – something really, really big comes a-knocking and ole Jase must be roused from his life of drinking and debauchery in Thailand to get back to what he does best: rescuing people from the Meg.
The plot really isn’t the point
Look: I could give you spoilers for every single moment of The Meg and (a) you would not be surprised but also (b) it would not make a blind bit of difference to your experience of the film. The Meg is not a movie you watch to see what happens; it’s a movie you watch for the special effects and the gas moments of heroism from Jason Statham and the ridiculous and unbelievable “romance” that blossoms between him and Li Bingbing.
From my feminist perspective (what other perspective is there, I hear you ask), I will say that it was refreshing to see a film with more than one female character; Ruby Rose designed the entire research station, for crying out loud, and Home and Away’s Jessica McNamee plays the pilot of Mana One’s Explorer. Women! Doing stuff in science! How exciting.
The dialogue is absolutely terrible; the acting is possibly even worse; Jason Statham’s accent is an engima wrapped in a conundrum surrounded by a sheath of mystery; the speed with which characters change outfits and move from speedboat to helicopter to trawler is mind-boggling.
I would not spend €12 to see The Meg. But if, like me, you pay for all-you-can-eat cinema, then sure, make it one of your monthly movies. It may not be as good as Jupiter Ascending, but it’s better than Warcraft. (Perhaps I need a new system.)
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